Guided Meditations for Grownups, author Seth Greenland weighs-in
Stakes are sky-high for the next generation. They will inherit a baffling world with increasingly nuanced challenges. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that how the next generation responds to these challenges will dictate the course of history. Here comes the commercial: Mindfulness can help them respond with clarity, kindness, and compassion. That’s why it’s important to teach mindfulness to kids now. - Seth Greenland
I’m Seth Greenland, and I’ve hijacked my wife’s blog and newsletter today because she has developed an allergy to self-promotion and while she seeks treatment at a clinic south of the border (just kidding), I’m holding the fort.
“Nothing is more important than teaching mindfulness to kids.”
Stakes are sky-high for the next generation. They will inherit a baffling world with increasingly nuanced challenges. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that how the next generation responds will dictate the course of history. Here comes the commercial: Mindfulness can help them respond with clarity, kindness, and compassion. That’s why it’s important to teach mindfulness to kids now. If you’re reading this newsletter or blog, it’s a good bet that you agree with Susan and me.
How to reach this laudable goal? Excellent question!
In short (because who doesn’t like short?), the surest way to share mindfulness with kids is for the adults in their lives to practice themselves. Discerning parents, educators, clinicians, and other random grownups often ask Susan to help them teach mindfulness to the kids in their lives. I know, because I’ve overheard the conversations. So that’s how my super-busy wife found herself teaching meditation to adults.
The folks at Sounds True noticed this and asked her to create a series of guided meditations for grownups. Now you can hear them yourself. There are 30 of them – 10ish minutes a day for 30 days. They’re being sold as “guided meditations for busy parents” but, if you can get beyond the parenting-specific references, they’re for everyone! A couple of ways you can listen: The Sounds True App, or order it through Audible or Amazon, or if you’re still into shoulder pads, big hair, and Madonna, you can do the 80s thing and buy the CD.
Maybe you’re thinking “yeah, yeah, breathing, I know,” or “okay, mindfulness, I get it,” or, “I’ve got a subscription to one of the countless meditation apps that are already out there. So, why this one?” What makes Susan’s guided meditations stand out is her track record and the originality of her approach.
Mindfulness helps us identify when our mental bandwidth has narrowed and - added bonus - it also helps us identify when that’s happening to other people, allowing us to respond accordingly, rather than lashing out or running from the room. Moving attention away from thinking about what’s causing us to short circuit to a neutral or pleasant experience in the moment allows our nervous system to settle down. This is a boon for you, your significant other, your kids, animal companions, neighbors, and the world. With a wider mental bandwidth, we can better listen, learn, and be open to new ideas, like using these techniques the next time you go to the DMV. Get a glimpse of how Susan explains this here, in one of the early tracks from Mindful Parent, Mindful Child.
Mindful self-regulation is just the beginning, though. There’s a second aspect of this work that’s equally as important and has engaged minds like St. Augustine, Maimonides, and Richard Gere (I used Richard Gere’s name to make sure you’re still paying attention). Would you like to be more conversant with a set of universal themes that are threaded through a holistic worldview? Who wouldn’t? That’s what the majority of these meditations are about. They’re also about how to be more resilient, balanced, compassionate, and perhaps, dare I say— joyful? Even if you’re not one of those people who’s up in the middle of the night worried about bills, your job, or that thing you said to the guy in front of you in the express line at Ralphs who had too many items, what person doesn’t want to be less nuts? Maybe you want to learn how to let go without giving up, be "healthy busy" instead of "crazy busy", find the upside of failure (Yes, there really is one). It’s all there in one package. Get familiar with the way Susan integrates universal themes into her work here, in an article she wrote for Sounds True.
Through Susan’s guided meditations, you’ll learn to unclench your jaw, lower your shoulders, and relax into a different way of seeing things. Not the linear metric – gotta go, gotta do, gotta be – a mindset that many inhabit. There’s a broader more expansive way of being that we’re introduced to by these universal themes and when they’re coupled with mindfulness who can predict what might happen next. I’m not saying you’re going to find a winning lottery ticket in your pocket because that would be false advertising, but maybe you’ll feel like you did.
Let me get personal for a moment: I’ve had Susan’s voice in my head for over thirty years, and I will tell you the results have been positive.
One love, Seth Greenland
Seth Greenland is the author of five novels. The last three, The Hazards of Good Fortune (2018), I Regret Everything (2015), and The Angry Buddhist (2011) were published by Europa Editions. Greenland is also a playwright and screenwriter and has worked as a writer-producer for HBO. Born in New York City, he currently lives in Los Angeles. In 2020, Europa will publish his sixth book, a memoir about the worst year of his life. To learn more, read a profile of Seth with an excerpt from his latest book here or visit his website.